About Shary Boyle

Shary Boyle is known for her bold, fantastical explorations of imaginary narratives featuring a cast of marginal characters. By giving voice to these alienated figures she redeems their emotional states of pain, grief and anger with defiant grace. Employing a high level of handmade craft and detail, her multidisciplinary practice mines the history of porcelain figurines, animist mythologies and arcane techniques to create a symbolic language uniquely her own.

Fuelled by her concerns about class and gender injustice, Boyle transgresses traditional boundaries between human and animal, animate and inanimate, life and death, young and old, male and female. The artist embraces the realm between the tangible and intangible – the space of the soul and what is timeless, essential. In her eclectic production, which ranges from sculpture, drawing, painting, installation and performance, Boyle translates her personal vision of sexuality, relationships and human vulnerability through a poetic and humane lens.

Exhibitions, performances
and awards

She has had solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe, most recently Flesh and Blood at Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, which travelled to Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2011); Canadian Artist at the BMO Project Room, Toronto (2012); The Illuminations Project with Emily Duke at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2011); Moon Hunter at Fumetto Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland (2009); and The History of Light at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge (2008).

Boyle also participated in L’Espace des métamorphoses, Biennale internationale de Vallauris, France (2012); Le sort probable de l’homme qui avait avalé le fantôme in conjunction with Nouveau Festival, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); Noise Ghost (Shary Boyle and Shuvinai Ashoona), Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto (2009); My Winnipeg, La Maison Rouge, Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris (2011), which travelled to Musée International des Arts Modestes, Sète, France, and Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2012).

One of Canada’s most innovative mid-career artists, Shary Boyle works in a diversity of media, including fine craft, drawing and experimental performance, often in collaboration with established musicians. A consummate object maker, her finely honed skills are disquietingly wed to a beguilingly poetic tone and a thoroughly contemporary sensibility

Marc Mayer
Director and CEO
National Gallery of Canada

Shary Boyle has performed at the Olympia Theatre, Paris (2005), Sonar Festival, Barcelona (2005), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2006, 2008), Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York (2008), and La Maison Rouge, Paris (2011), and presented a new theatre work Everything Under the Moon with musical collaborator Christine Fellows at the Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, in February 2012.

Shary Boyle was a finalist for the Sobey Art Award (2007, 2009) and was the recipient of the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2009) and Hnatyshyn Foundation Award (2010). Born in Scarborough, Ontario, in 1972, Shary Boyle graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1994.